Twenty-one-year-old Brett Cooper is The Daily Wire’s rising star. A former child actor who came on as a conservative commentator last year, her audience has rapidly outpaced many of the network’s other key figures, racking up an astonishing 3.5 million subscribers on her show’s YouTube channel (for comparison Candace Owens, who has been with The Daily Wire longer, has 2 million). Unlike most conservative commentators, Cooper’s audience is primarily young people – and that makes her pro-life backstory particularly powerful.
A few months back, Cooper did a long-form interview with Graham Stephan and Jack Selby on their podcast The Iced Coffee Hour. Inevitably in a discussion about politics, abortion came up. Cooper noted that most Americans want some form of restrictions and noted that this was pushing some people into the explicitly pro-abortion camp where they are “pro-killing” as opposed to simply pro-autonomy.
Cooper also observed that abortion, for some young women, has become a form of birth control. Some of her sorority sisters, she said, were on “abortion number two.” But the thing that has impacted her perspective the most, Cooper said, is the fact that her parents discovered that they were expecting her when their marriage was essentially already “over.”
“My dad wanted me to be aborted,” Cooper told them.
“How did you learn about that?”
“I was calling my mom about abortion,” she replied, “and I was like, ‘I’m just so conflicted right now … I know it’s morally wrong,’ and we were going back and forth, and my mom is incredible at showing both sides of it. … She would argue it from the perspective of the mother. She would argue it from the perspective of the protection of the unborn child. All of this.”
“We’d go back and forth. What makes the most sense? This was something she had changed her mind on a lot because she used to be pro-choice as well,” she said.
“And she was like: ‘I’m going to be very personal with you,’” Cooper recalled. “‘When we found out that I was pregnant Mike wanted you to be aborted. We knew our marriage was over. This obviously wasn’t planned at all, and he was like ‘I want you to make an appointment and go.’ And she was like: ‘That totally changed my mind. I had not even considered that this would impact me personally; a mother of three; that would never be a concern of mine; having a life inside of me and being told to end that after going through multiple pregnancies and in that moment knowing that that was never something I could do.’”
For her mother, Cooper said, that conversation was the catalyst for a change in her opinion. Her perspective shifted from the rights of the mother to that of the baby. “This is the most vulnerable person in our society, who has no autonomy, is fully dependent on this other person – that’s where her perspective shifted,” Cooper said. “For me, making it very, very personal did a lot.” In fact, it changed her mind on abortion entirely. If her mother had been “pro-choice,” after all, she very likely would have ended up in a dumpster or in a bucket of medical waste.
Stories like Cooper’s – Tucker Carlson actually has a similar explanation for the strength of his anti-abortion views – remind us that abortion is not about a “what,” but about a “who.” The children who might have been aborted but made it out alive remind us that each of the 66 million children we lost weren’t potential people – they were real people.